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Score A Big Win For France

So I keep hearing people going on about how useless unions are. Oh and how America is so much more awesome than the rest of the world. Then I read about what's going on in France.

Don't brag to me about the 40-hour weeks you have in the US, and let’s not forget that it was the unions that gave you them, as well the weekend, in the first place. France has a 35-hour work week. So 7-hour workdays or overtime for any extra hours worked. No, an hour a day isn't a huge deal, but hey, I'd have taken it if the numbers worked in such a way that my annual income balances out to be the same. Let’s see, five hours a week times 52 weeks in a year is ermm...260 hours for doing whatever I wanted. Yeah, I'd take that deal.

Oh, not to mention the five weeks’ worth of vacation they get. So yeah, they got that too. Personally I was lucky to get a week or two off per year and one company said I couldn't use the days consecutively due to my being indispensable as I was a critical cog in their machine. Thanks guys, you made me feel so special.

But now get this. Under a new agreement that affects over a million people in France, they are going to have employees to turn off their work phone after work hours. Let that sink in for a bit. No calls, emails or text messages during non-work hours. That's due to an agreement that after six months of negotiations, management engineering and consulting firms and consultants (Syntec and Cinov) signed with the CFDT and CGC (56% of their employees between them) an amendment to the 1999 agreement on the 35 hours that could serve as an example. Some emailing outside those hours will be allowed, but only in exceptional circumstances.

So basically, your time is your own. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to do work of some sort from home and wasn't compensated for it because I simply wasn't in the office. So there you have it. Finally someone is getting recognition to that fact and if the company needs to get work done during your off hours, they have to hire another guy. That's not going to hurt the employment rate; it’ll help it. It might lower the profit margin of the company, but why are the working class so worried about that?

And all this time off doesn't seem to be hurting the productivity of French workers. In fact, they may only be slightly behind the US and done with much fewer working hours.
Labour productivity and average hours worked
Source: OECD

So tell me again how USA is number 1…

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